MPR News meteorologist Paul Huttner on the radio just now: Just south of the Twin Cities, southeast of St. Peter, from Waterville to Waseca there's a storm producing large hail and has a history of wind damage. The storm is moving east toward I-35 -- toward Fairbault, Owatonna. There are trees down, power lines down, flash flooding.
Widening out a little, there are storms extending down to Iowa, marching along I-90. There is also a high wind warning for the Twin Cities until 9 p.m. After the rain moves through, gusts of 50 mph could be moving into the metro.
From MPR News' reporter Peter Cox:
A flash flood came through Blue Mounds State Park, just north of Luverne, and washed out the dam at Lower Mound Lake.
"Our fishing dock floated off its supports and went against the dam, where water normally washes over," said assistant manager Tom Sawtelle. "And it probably blockaded that which forced water to go around the dam and onto the spillway and the spillway got washed away and so the lake was drained."
Pipestone County Emergency Management Director Steve Ewing said the southern half of the county has been hardest hit.
Ewing gave a rough estimate of about $150,000 of infrastructure damage to the county and townships. He says Pipestone County will be working on an emergency declaration to open the door for state and federal funding for repairs.
The county has four roads closed, and many township roads are also closed. The Minnesota Department of Transportation has closed sections of U.S. Highway 75 in Rock County because of flooding over the road.
From MPR News' reporter Mark Steil:
Heavy rains are causing more flooding problems in southwest Minnesota. Jeff Brockberg farms in the Pipestone area and says he measured three more inches of rain today after eight inches fell in weekend storms.
"I have probably a half mile of road underwater from where I sit in my home right now," said Brockberg. "We're saturated -- didn't really take long for all the roads to go back underwater."
Brockberg says there were about 50 road washouts in his area from the weekend rains. He says the new round of storms probably caused more damage. Many farm fields also have standing water.
Tallying the damage in Pipestone County
As rain continues in Pipestone County, officials are assessing the damage caused by flooding during the weekend.
County Emergency Management Director Steve Ewing says a bridge was closed in Edgerton, in the southern part of the county, after portions of its supports washed out.
At Edgerton's Rock River Campground, several campers were evacuated because of flash flooding over the weekend. Three camper trailers were damaged.
Ewing said at first the rains were welcome.
"Going into last year we were definitely in a drought category. The rain we had was definitely welcome. But they could turn the faucet off for a little while now, I think that'd be ok."
Ewing says no injuries have been reported as a result of the flooding.
(From MPR News reporter Peter Cox)
Storms rake SW Minnesota with hail, high winds
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - More waves of heavy rain and severe storms rumbled into Minnesota on Monday on top of damaging storms that drenched the state over the weekend, prompting Gov. Mark Dayton to cancel a planned visit to view flood damage in the southwest corner of the state.
Weekend storms dumped as much as 4 inches of rain at Luverne in the southwest corner of Minnesota and over 5 inches in some areas near International Falls on the state's northern border, and they packed wind gusts as high as 68 mph at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
Severe thunderstorms popped up again in southwestern Minnesota on Monday afternoon, and the National Weather Service said areas to the north were at risk as well, including the Twin Cities area. Additional waves of showers and thunderstorms were forecast through Friday.
Pipestone County reported 3.5 inches of rain Monday, the weather service said. A wind gust measuring 79 mph was reported in Jackson, while hail estimated at an inch in diameter fell near Jackson and tree branches were knocked down.
Dayton had planned to visit Luverne and Edgerton on Monday afternoon before he canceled his trip. Instead, he spoke with local officials via telephone conference call, and planned to use a previously scheduled trip to the region to meet with local officials Friday about storm damage and recovery efforts. He also announced plans to travel north to International Falls on Tuesday morning to meet with local officials and assess flood damage in Koochiching County.
Authorities activated the State Emergency Operations Center to help affected residents respond to the damage. The announcement said it was just a partial activation that requires officials from various agencies to determine whether state resources are needed for the recovery effort. No local officials have requested state resources so far, it said.
The state Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division said local officials were assessing damage to 12 township and county roads in Rock County. More than 6 inches of rain fell in Pipestone County, flooding roads in 75 locations in the Edgerton area and washing out the road to a bridge on the Rock-Pipestone County line, it said.
Sandbagging continued Monday in the International Falls area to build up dikes protecting homes, businesses and the city's water treatment and wastewater treatment facilities from rising waters on Rainy Lake and the Rainy River. U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, who represents the area, canceled two appearances on his schedule so he could travel to International Falls and meet with local officials and volunteers. Residents had filled 50,000 sandbags as of Sunday.
``It was 4 inches from the top of what they had bagged and they're expecting it to rise at least a foot yet by the time all the runoff is done,'' said Koochiching County sheriff's dispatcher Rich Rud.
The high water has left many residents' docks under water, as well as all docks and some boat launches at Voyageurs National Park. The park remained open Monday, but 24 campsites have been closed. Rud said no damage assessments have been done yet. Highway 11 west of International Falls remains closed due to flooding.
Heavy rains over the weekend aggravated lake and river levels that were already swollen with spring snowmelt. Koochiching County Sheriff Brian Jespersen said the National Weather Service reported over 2.5 inches of rain fell in the area, but he said some residents had gauges registering over 5 inches.
Sandbagging also continued Monday as the water level crept up on nearby Lake Kabetogama, another major lake that's part of Voyageurs. It flows into Namakan Lake before reaching Rainy Lake. Steven Steblay, director of homeland security and emergency management for the St. Louis County sheriff's office, said crews were working to protect homes, resorts and roads.
International Falls is about 300 miles north of Minneapolis.
Storms hit Fairmont, Martin County
Thunderstorms dropped around 2 inches of rain in Fairmont this evening.
The rains have caused flooding and power outages throughout the city and Martin County.
Martin County Emergency Management Director Erin Busta says storms hit the county hard.
"I'm in the dispatch center right now. And we've been getting calls from across the county. We've got some flooding in the cities themselves. We've got powerlines down all across the county. Strong winds, trees down everywhere. So right now we're just working on getting stuff out of the way and working with the power company to try to get some of the power restored."
Busta says there were reports of pea-size to golf ball size hail. She says standing water on some Fairmont streets is halfway up car tires.
Busta says the priority for her office is to rescue motorists whose vehicles become stranded in high water and to get power restored in areas with outages.
(From MPR News reporter Peter Cox)
Storm knocks out 911 service in Austin
The storm tonight took out power to 911 emergency in Mower County. At about 7:30 p.m. dispatching was re-routed to neighboring Freeborn County in southern Minnesota.
Freeborn County Sheriff Bob Kindler:
"The power is out in their city (Austin), or parts of their city and the law enforcement center. So all 911 calls, emergency calls, are being routed through Freeborn County for dispatch and to relay that information back to Mower County."
Kindler said Freeborn County has power outages including parts of Albert Lea. But he says his office is still assessing storm damage.
(From MPR News reporter Peter Cox)